“guess this is [ ]” (this can appear anywhere in the story)
The Judge’s Prompt:
Kurama no Hi-Matsuri / the Kurama Fire Festival
[Note: I wasn't really going so much for a story so much as tribute to the hostess for the final contest entry. I didn't win a badge but I did have a lot of fun. I've made minor edits from the original version.]
Festival of the Last Days
By Wakefield Mahon
“Guess this is the end Larry. We done cleaned out old Jake’s pawn shop, we only have two cases of shotgun shells left with a horde-o-zombies that don’t seem to want to slow down no matter how much lead you give them.”
“We’ll give them what for Darryl. We ain’t going down without a fight. I’ll tell you that right now. Hey what happened to that wife of yours? She didn’t…?”
“Naw, she’s just on the phone with her girlfriends like the world isn’t coming to an end. They got them fancy satellite phones, expensive as hell but they’re still chattering away. I swear I couldn’t shut that woman up with a whole roll of duct tape.”
Yuki stopped talking.
“She’s looking right at the back of my head isn’t she?”
“Yup, and I reckon it’s a good thing she ain’t got a shotgun in her hands but the look in her eyes.”
Darryl took a deep breath and turned around. “Yuki I don’t mean no disrespect but do you think you could stop talking to your friends long enough to help me hold off the coming apocalypse? Them zombies will be here any minute. I promise you ladies can go shoe-shopping all you want, later – in what’s left of the mall … if we survive that is.”
Yuki rolled her eyes and went back to talking on the phone.
“Ooh that woman.”
“Aww, let her have her fun Darryl. We probably ain’t going to make it out of her no how.”
“You got that right, Larry. Did you see them creatures? I swear I saw one – pretty sure it used to be a lady – she had purple hair, what kind of horrible zombie disease can that be?”
“Well you know, some folks dye their hair bright blue or purple on purpose.”
“Are you two boys finished gossiping?”
“Huh?” The two men stared blankly as they saw Yuki standing over them, a torch blazing in each hand.
“Snap out of it. They’re almost here!” The rhythm of drums filled the air.
Larry and Darryl leveled their shotguns. “No, not like that genius; do you want to end up like your other brother Darryl? Take these torches and get ready for the procession.”
“What in blazes are you talking about, Yuki?”
“I was on the phone with my cousins. It’s October 22, right? It’s not Yuki-jinja but I’m pretty sure First Baptist on Oak Street will work.”
“Still, not following you.” Darryl twisted his face.
“The Kurama Fire Festival to help the departed find their way to the other side? I swear you don’t listen to a word I…”
“In Kyoto, where you were raised, near the forest of Cherry Blossoms where the cicadas used to drive you crazy, I remember.” Darryl reached for the torches. “Sounds like as good a plan as any, just tell me what you need me to do baby.”
A smile rounded Yuki's surprised expression. "I have a feeling everything's going to turn out just fine."